When people talk about memories of C&B Quick Shop they often say the thing that made the store special was that they treated you like family.
It was more than just a store for many Yazooans. It was a place where home cooked meals were served and conversations were shared. Longtime owner Betty Potter touched a lot of lives over the years. When Mrs. Potter died in 2017 the word “family” usually came up when people were describing how she made them feel.
Family was what was on Mitchell Saxton’s mind when he decided to resurrect the former beloved business his aunt Betty operated for 20 years.
“I know where I came from, and I’m proud of my family,” Saxton said. “We were raised to work hard and respect everyone, and those are the most important things when it comes to being successful.”
Saxton points to his grandparents, the late Wilson and Lessie Saxton, as the inspiration for his family’s many successful business ventures in Yazoo. They started a small grocery store in Midway, and the family eventually made its way to Yazoo. Mitchell Saxton is one of several Saxtons currently operating a business in Yazoo.
“The people of this community have always been very good to my family,” he said. “They have always been supportive.
Saxton has owned Ribeye’s restaurant in Yazoo City for over 15 years. That keeps him busy enough, but the family history related to C&B kept coming back to him every time he passed the vacant building.
“My grandmother used to sit back there and peel 50-pound bags of potatoes when they served meals on Tuesdays and Thursday,” Saxton said. “I’d come back there in the mornings and she’d say, ‘Son, you’re going to come back and eat lunch with us aren’t you,” and I’d say, ‘Go ahead and put me down for one now because I know they’re going to sell out.’ They cooked 100 lunches twice a week, and they always sold out.”
Restoring the property proved to be a major challenge. The building has been empty for several years with no maintenance. Thieves had stripped the copper wire from the breaker box on the side of the building.
“I had to spend a lot of money before I could even turn a light on,” Saxton said.
Saxton and his sons cleared all of the overgrown vegetation in front of the building, and he hired contractors to repair the coolers and other items. He has painted every interior wall, added new restaurant equipment and furnishings. There are new lighted signs out front. Even the shelves inside the store are new.
“It’s going to be really nice,” he said. “We’re not doing anything halfway.”
Those new shelves will soon be fully stocked. Saxton said he plans to have everything his customers need, but he wants feedback if the store doesn’t have something they’re looking for.
“It’s probably going to take me a little time to figure out everything that I need to have because I’ve never been in this business,” Saxton said. “I’m not worried about the restaurant part. I know what to do over there.”
Saxton is particularly excited about the dining room, which can seat up to 80 people. C&B will serve lunch every day of the week except Saturday.
“It’s going to be good Southern home cooked food, like the kind of food my grandmother cooked,” he said.
In addition to bringing new life to a building that had become an eyesore, the new business will provide a boost to the local economy. Saxton plans create nine or 10 new jobs.
C&B opens for business on Saturday, April 6. The restaurant will serve its first lunch meal the next day. Sunday lunches will be served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saxton said because of the store’s location on Jerry Clower Boulevard it’s already getting plenty of attention.
“People are pulling in here every day thinking that we’re already open,” he said.
As Saxton works each day to get the store ready for the grand opening, he likes to think about how his aunt Betty ran the store for so many years.
“I think she would be proud,” he said.
Like Mrs. Potter, Saxton plans to build his new business around the concept of family. Photos of his aunt and his grandmother will be the first thing visitors see when they walk in the doors of the restaurant. He’s also gathering other family photos to decorate the walls.
“I’m all about family,” Saxton said. “I miss those who are gone, but I won’t ever forget them. I’m going to carry on their tradition.”